Every week there seems to be so many film scores being released some new others that were either not issued at the time of the films release or maybe expanded versions of the scores, and sometimes first time on CD or digital download items. So it is at times difficult to keep up with the flow of so many, therefore as part of a new feature I am going to do like a potted round up of scores that I may have missed or maybe have not got round to reviewing or mentioning, not an in depth review as I like to do at times but a glance into the release maybe some info on the composer and what label has issued the score etc. For this the first soundtrack supplement.
I am going to begin with a television score, LA VITA PROMESSA 2, is an Italian production, and as far as I can make out has quite a following in Italy, the music is by composer Paolo Vivaldi, as soon as I saw his name I knew that this would be a worthy soundtrack. He is a composer I have followed and have always been amazed that he has not been given more assignments, as every score of his for me anyway, is a delight. LA VITA PROMESSA 2, is no exception, and contains some beautiful thematic material, the style employed by the composer is fully symphonic and has to it a grandiose and neoclassical sound. At certain points the music evoked the style of Morricone, with a light touch but also having an ingratiating and lush presence. It is a score that I know you will become immersed with as soon as you begin to listen. It will mesmerise and attract with its haunting and delicate nuances adorning the duration of the score. Vivaldi employs lilting solo violin and fragile sounding piano passages and performances throughout alongside strings and poignant woods. It is a sheer joy and I know will entertain as well as captive each listener.
From an emotive score to one that brings raw and urgent musical colours and textures to the arena, a horror movie entitled JACK IN THE BOX, which has a score by composer Christoph Allerstorpher, I was actually prompted to listen to the score which is released on Howlin Wolf records by composer James Griffiths who recommended it. I have to say he is not wrong, it has to it a sound and style that maybe can be likened to that of Christopher Young when he was just starting out on films such as DEF CON 4 and the like. It also contains a real sense of virulence and a sinister underlying persona which surfaces when you are expecting it least, adding a mood of apprehension and something that resembles organised chaos as it is a fusion of atonal and drifts into melodic interludes, which although short lived do shine through to give the listener a little respite.
The horror score has in recent years come into its own and more and more of these scores are getting a soundtrack release bringing composers such as The Newton Brothers and Joseph Bashira into the sights of collectors, it’s a funny thing but back in the 1970’s the horror score was ignored as far as being issued onto a recording was concerned, but record labels seem to be taking into account that film music collectors do actually like a score that oozes atmosphere and a malevolent mood. Composer Allerstopher has written a score that is certainly affecting and his use of synthetic and conventional instrumentation blends well and creates a spidery and somewhat tantalising but unsettling sound.
The next release is from December 2019, and I think I missed this one due to a little holiday called Christmas, but if you too missed THE LEGEND OF BEN HALL by composer Ronnie Minder then please check it out, the composer utilises both symphonic and electronic elements to fashion the at times epic and exciting music. And I am so glad that I returned to this to give it a thorough listen. The movie is about the Australian bush ranger Ben Hall, and charts his life from at first deciding to give up a life of crime to becoming one of the most wanted criminals in the New South Wales territory of Australia, Composer Minder has created a pulsating and adventurous score, filled with percussive elements and tense strings that also drive the proceedings forward giving the score a tense and urgent style. Track number ten, THOSE BOLD BUSHRANGERS even display’s traces of the style employed in the Italian western with electric guitar taking centre stage accompanied by percussion and underlying strings that gradually build and create an emotive backdrop for the cue. This is a hard and fast score, filled with powerful and rhythmic compositions that are dark and commanding. Certainly, one to check out and add to your collection.
From the antics of a bushranger in 19th century Australia, we go now to, more of a contemporary story in the form of the TV series THE NEW POPE, which ahs a score by Lele Marchitelli, the score for this is an interesting one with the composer employing varying styles throughout.
The soundtrack album also features various songs, but as they were not actually written specifically for the series, I wont include them in the review as it is the score that I think we all are interested in. The actual score is I suppose something of an unassuming one, as it is not grand or excessively lush or lavish in its style, the composer mostly relying upon the use of solo performances such as violin to purvey moods which can be somewhat solitary, there are a handful of pieces within the score that do evoke the style of maybe Nino Rota or even British composer Ralph Vaughn Williams, this I think is the flawless violin performances that are scattered through the work, but again it is a score that you should take a listen to, maybe skipping over the songs. The cue UNEXPECTED POPE, I think for me is the highlight of the score, because it is slightly darker and more urgent than the majority of the other compositions.
Staying with television, Clinton Shorter has produced many interesting soundtracks over the past five or six years, and his music for THE EXPANSE, follows this path. Season 4, of the show is the latest to get the Shorter musical treatment, and it’s a great action score, but there is more than pounding action music here, the composer provides the series with a thoughtful and varied soundtrack, which is realised via a fusion of symphonic, samples and electronic means. The composer fuses these elements effortlessly and seamlessly to fashion some pulsating and thematic sounding cues, its one score that you do not want to miss out on, it contains an ethereal sound at times an otherworldly atmosphere being delivered with effective and affecting precision.
And finally its back to 2019 for THE GENTLEMAN, with a score by composer Chris Benstead, again this is a classy and interesting work, containing well structured themes and unassuming at times nuances that give the score great entertainment value as in listening to it away from the movie it was intended to enhance. I enjoyed this quite low key at times score, which contains inventive orchestration and themes that although are not full-blown lush affairs still manage to do the job effectively. Although there are a handful of more urgent and imposing pieces that are also welcome. Recommended.